Why We Need the Mill Levies

February 17th, 2010 · 8:40 am @ admin  -  Comments

Facts about the three mill levies (elementary levy, elementary technology levy, high school technology levy), and mill levies in general.
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MILL LEVIES GIVE OUR SCHOOLS FUNDAMENTAL SUPPORT

  • Helps us keep the “neighborhood school” concept: When kids can walk or bike to their schools (and families can connect with them), studies show improved learning. The elementary mill levy will help us keep neighborhood schools open for more kids across Billings.
  • Helps us replace “one time” money with an ongoing funding stream: As of now, the school budget relies on “one time” only funds from the legislature, with no mechanism for ongoing support. These mill levies will provide some local funding stability.
  • Helps us support teachers who fill needs beyond the classroom: Data shows most teachers in School District 2 spend between $300 and $1,500 out of their own pockets to help students—on everything from healthy food for homeless kids to supplies for those who can’t afford them.

MILL LEVIES ARE OUR LOCAL RESPONSIBILITY

  • By law, the State legislature only funds 80% of school budgets. Local communities are expected to fund the other 20%: Like every other community in the state, 20% of school funding is our local responsibility. Unlike most other communities, we’ve been neglecting our responsibility. Mill levies aren’t extras; they’re necessities.

MILL LEVIES ARE SMART INVESTMENTS

  • With more than 2,000 employees, School District 2 is an economic engine for our local economy: That’s 2,000 employees paying local taxes, buying from local businesses, volunteering for local organizations, and more.
  • A healthy education system fosters a healthy business environment: Medicine, finance, energy and other sectors rely on a strong local school system to help attract employees. Several organizations have said Billings’ track record of failed school mill levies has hampered efforts to attract and retain talent.
  • Total cost? Less than $4 a month for all three levies on a $100,000 home: The Elementary Operational Levy ($1,809,323), the Elementary Technology Levy ($1.413,882) and the High School Technology Levy ($1,099,459) will be $3.82/month or $45.84/year on a $100,000 home. That’s just 12.5¢ per day.
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  • Walter C Gusler
    Although I do not have kids yet though I intend to I am still on the fence on this issue. I for one dont mind the extra 26$ a year, I believe what most residents want is for SD2 to be more responcible. There are issues with the running of SD2 and that has put a sour taste in peoples mouth, when the administartion is cut to a more reasonable status the mill levies will start to pass.
  • Thanks for the comment, Walter. I think everyone wants responsible management of district resources, but I'd disagree with your contention that the district administration needs to be "cut to a more reasonable status." General administration costs are just 1% of the annual budget for School District 2--meaning we actually have the lowest administrative costs in the state. See the 2009-2010 budget presentation at:

    http://billingsschools.org/?page=budget_d

    And the "Billings Gazette" article devoted to administrative costs at:

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/education...
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